Greg Rucka has not always been well-served by his illustrators. During the long run of his great comic books series Queen & Country, some of the artists did excellent, powerful work. Others weren’t so successful.
In fact, I recall in the first issue of Queen & Country I picked up (a Free Comic Book Day special), I had no idea the main character was supposed to be a woman until I noticed, some pages in, that her name was Tara.
Rucka is an exciting, nuanced writer. (The paperback edition of third Q&C novel, The Last Run, will be released this coming Tuesday.) And he proves it again with the hardbound collection of the Eisner Award-nominated Stumptown, just out earlier this month.
Stumptown is Portland, Oregon. The main character is a rush-addicted, low-rent private eye named Dex — short for Dexedrine, so imagine what sort of childhood she had — Parios, who takes her knocks from all sorts of down-and-outers. She’s plies her trade in The Rockford Files world, as Matt Fraction (what’s with the names?) points out in his introduction.
Art is by Matthew Southworth, who’s done work for DC, Marvel and Image Comics. His style, for some, will be ideal for the gritty, dangerous and out-of-focus-around-the-edges milieu Dex Parios inhabits.
For my taste, some panels seem rushed, not fully realized. Others made me stop and look — the two-ages spread where Dex meets Isabel at Mount Tabor. The sun rises as they discuss a shaky truce.
See for yourself.